How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Folsom 26348
Picking the right dental hygienist training near Folsom WV is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account also, for instance the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Folsom dental practice and can perform a wide range of functions. Their main job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some West Virginia dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are asked to complete, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the West Virginia dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a Folsom dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the West Virginia practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at West Virginia junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Folsom area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant school may be a good option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Folsom home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental program is the best option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
When you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Folsom area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for some online options as well. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the West Virginia colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Folsom area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the college you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, many Folsom area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many Folsom area dental colleges have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Folsom dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the West Virginia colleges you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 26348 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near Folsom in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Dental School near Folsom WVSelecting the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.